On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS (5th July), Islington Labour councillors called for a genuine parity of esteem between physical and mental health services.
Islington Labour councillors voted for a motion at Full Council that resolved to urge the Government to ensure mental health services are adequately funded. They also pledged to continue to work with NHS partners, and the voluntary and community sector, to ensure all residents can access the mental health services they need.
Cllr Janet Burgess, Executive Member for Health and Social Care, says:
“The NHS is one of this country’s proudest achievements and was made possible by a Labour Government. However, there are serious concerns about the pressures facing the NHS and increasing moves by the Tory Government towards privatisation.
“Islington Labour is firmly committed to ensuring the NHS remains free at the point of use, and remains publicly owned and publicly accountable. We will continue to work closely with partners and the community to support residents with mental health needs; including by providing specialist employment support and hosting events at our libraries.”
In Islington, one in six adults has at least one diagnosed mental health condition. However, not everyone is receiving the support they need due to funding pressures. Between 2010 and 2015, national mental health spending fell by £600 million, and there are over 5,000 fewer mental health nurses than in 2010.
Cllr Osh Gantly, Mental Health Champion, says:
“Anyone can be affected by a mental health condition at any time in their life. Tackling health inequalities, including mental health inequalities, is key to making Islington a fairer place for all. Islington Labour firmly believes there must be a genuine parity of esteem between physical and mental health services, and will continue to urge the Government to properly fund mental health services.”
Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS, the Prime Minister announced an increase of £20 billion a year to the NHS’ budget before 2024. However, this funding is not enough. The NHS reports it needs to start receiving a 4 per cent yearly budget increase as soon as possible, but the Government’s increase only represents a 3.4 per cent rise and it is yet to be confirmed how it will be funded.
For more information on mental health services in Islington, visit the Council website.
On the anniversary of the NHS’ founding, Islington Labour councillors also delivered cakes to NHS practices and hospitals across the borough to show their appreciation to NHS workers. By the end of the day, cakes had been delivered to around 20 GP practices, three pharmacies and clinics in three hospitals.
St Peter’s councillor Vivien Cutler, who helped to co-ordinate the deliveries, says: “The NHS is one of our greatest public assets and Islington truly appreciates the hard work and commitment of our NHS staff. Working with Islington Keep Our NHS Public, the Pensioners Forum and eight Islington Labour councillors, we were determined to show our appreciation and celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday with them.”